Growing up is stressful, especially as you hit that troublesome 16-19 age. But there are life tips for college students that can help make adapting from child to adult much simpler.
1. Start Acting like an Adult
You’re an adult now (or darn close). You don’t have to ask to leave the room. Professors don’t care if you leave and come back as long as you don’t interrupt – putting your hand up to ask is interrupting and it can be a little embarrassing if you stop a lecture to get permission to go to the bathroom.
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2. Talk to Your Professors
Be friendly with your professors and learn to send short, friendly emails. Those two things are as important as learning. Networking with your professors helps later when it comes time to get recommendation letters and help to enter a field.
3. Be an Active Learner
Professors love it when you’re active in class without being long-winded or over-explaining your question. The best classes to fight with your professors are the Socratic Method classes. Read the material and argue a point, learn the logic, and fight them again. Most Professors love it because it adds variety to their life.
4. Avoid Mandatory Attendance
Avoid classes with mandatory attendance if you can. Especially with younger professors, are the ones most likely to be stringent about the rules. If you have a mandatory attendance rate, they will most likely be willing to give you some leeway if you have been an active participant. They (mostly) want you to pass.
5. Schedule Your Work
Make a schedule and check it every single morning. If you can stay ahead of where you need to be in classes it takes the pressure off. If you can produce an assignment immediately after it is assigned it makes life easier. Even if you have it completely wrong, many professors will send it back with what needs to be changed for a better grade. Assignments always scale up at midterm and finals weeks, being able to have large amounts of work done fast makes your experience so much better.
6. Hit the Gym
There is a gym at your school and it is free for you to use (at most schools it’s already paid for). Take this opportunity to use the gym. This is the best place to relieve stress and get away from your computer, from sitting down, and it is a hell of a lot better than hitting the bars to calm yourself.
7. Join Some Clubs!
Check out your major’s club first and join it. This will help get you connections outside of college. Officers of the club also look great on a resume. Then check out the social clubs that interest you. Sports, D&D, cosplay, hackers, go in with a good attitude, make some friends and do some interesting things.
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8. Wash Your Own Clothes
Make laundry day a group event. In the dorms there are usually about 10 washers and dryers. Grab some friends on a week day and have a study session. It is better than waiting for clothes alone. Some people will pull your clothes out and drop them on the ground if you don’t watch them a little.
9. DO NOT BUY YOUR TEXTBOOKS YET!
Unless your professor emailed the class to get the textbook(s), wait until the first day of classes. It is always best to see if you can use a pdf, or used copy, or you might not need one at all. This tip saved me a few thousand dollars when I was in college.
10. College isn’t about partying
Sure it is nice to go out and have a nice time, but remember that you are investing in your career. Missing a single class costs around $300. Failing a class means you just threw away thousands of dollars. Fail enough to be expelled and you just went into debt to party. Frankly, there are better parties than the ones at college.
11. Use the system to your advantage
I learned that submitting papers with file names formatted this way ( [classname] _lastname_paper ), the first bracket will make your file appear first for the professor when files are sorted by alphabetical order, like when the professor is going through his folder to grade. I started doing this because a computer science professor preferred it and then several of my other professors made it mandatory.
The key thing to remember at this age is that you are now an adult, or very close to being an adult, and the biggest mindsets you need are to be adaptable and proactive.